Tributes have been paid to one of the stars of of the Dick, Kerr Ladies side, Edna Broughton, who sadly passed away at the age of 89 last month.
Born in Crewe in 1930, Edna played for the Dick, Kerr Ladies side from 1946 until 1958, with a brief spell away with Manchester Corinthians in the interim, and remains one of the youngest ever goalscorers in international football.
Edna retained her passion for football for life and claimed that Preston’s greatest son Sir Tom Finney was the greatest player she ever saw, counting sitting alongside him at one function as one of the highlights of her football career.
Dick, Kerr Ladies historian Gail Newsham spoke of the impact of the centre forward.
“Edna, who originally came from Crewe, made her debut for the club in June of 1946 at Portland against a team from Weymouth, when she was just 15-years-old.
I have only recently been informed of the sad passing of Edna Broughton, former star player for the Dick, Kerr Ladies. Here is my tribute. RIP Edna x pic.twitter.com/xPJtV1ZS1V— Gail Newsham (@GailNewsham) May 10, 2020
“Standing only five feet tall and playing in the centre forward position, she was always in the thick of the action and although she didn’t score that day, she played some beautiful football in an 11-2 victory for the team.
“It wasn’t long before she got on the scoresheet and she netted her first goal in a 2-0 win over Lancashire County Ladies in August that year. A regular goalscorer on the pitch, Edna’s silky skills often had defenders on the ropes as she dribbled passed them with ease.
“Team manager Alfred Frankland often referred to Edna as ‘his little star’, and in a letter to Edna's parents in September of 1947, he wrote: "I wish with all my heart to say thank you for Edna. She had a great promise when she came to us and she will make one of the loveliest players the ladies' game has ever seen."
“In a shock move in 1951, Edna left the club for Manchester Corinthians but returned to the Preston side at the start of the 1952 season and she continued playing until 1958.
“Edna was a popular member of the team and regularly on the scoresheet throughout her career. She will always be remembered as one of the great post-war players for the Dick, Kerr Ladies. Edna will be sadly missed, but her place in history is assured.”
Roy Broughton, Edna’s nephew, added: “Edna had a love of football from an early age. In her early teens, she honed her skills and tenacity playing in the regular Sunday afternoon kickabouts against the men of the neighbourhood. After a couple of games, she became the number one pick!
“At the age of 15, her mother wrote a letter simply addressed to ‘The Manager, Dick, Kerr’s Ladies Football Team, Preston’, asking if her daughter could have a trial with them.
“Amazingly, the letter reached Alf Frankland, the manager, who invited her over. She soon became a regular in the team, despite being only 5”0, frequently banging in the goals.
“She loved playing with what was then one of, if not the best, ladies’ teams in the world, raising lots of money for charity.
“Sadly, her latter years were dogged by ill health, which was only made bearable by the constant care and attention she received from her companion Christina Smith.
“Christina recalls that after Edna had retired, she still met up on a regular basis with her ex-team-mates, sometimes attending ladies football tournaments, and she says it was incredible to see the esteem with which the team were still held in.”
Edna’s achievements will go down in football history, with her name among those imprinted on the Dick, Kerr Ladies memorial at Deepdale.
The Trust’s Inclusion Manager Melissa Brown explained why players such as Edna remain inspirational for the modern generation of women’s footballers.
“We are incredibly to saddened to hear of Edna’s passing. The Dick, Kerr Ladies were pioneers for women’s football in the 20th century and Edna was a huge part of that.
“As such a well-supported and successful side, the Dick, Kerr Ladies’ legacy remains hugely important for aspiring female players today. They overcame great adversity to play and it is in no small part thanks to them that the 50-year ban on women’s football was eventually lifted.
“Thankfully, therefore, women’s football today is absolutely massive and we can actively encourage young women to get involved in football with many opportunities available with us at Preston North End Community and Education Trust.
“Edna’s name will rightly be forever enshrined on the Dick, Kerr Ladies memorial at Deepdale and she will be greatly missed.”